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Dear All

You might be interested in this conference -- 2-page abstract submissions due on March 15! 

We hope to see many of you in Oxford this September, 

** Call for papers **
** Internet, Politics, Policy 2012: Big Data, Big Challenges? **
** 20-21 September 2012, University of Oxford **
** **

** Rationale **

Recent years have seen an increasing buzz around how 'Big Data' can uncover
patterns of human behaviour and help predict social trends. Most social
activities today leave digital imprints that can be collected and stored in
the form of large datasets of transactional data. These data are already
being used to prevent epidemics or combat fraud and crime, but the research
potential of these data is still underexploited.

The impact of Big Data goes beyond academic research: the behavioural
insights gained from transactional information can also be used to drive
evidence-based policy making and 'nudge' political behaviour. However, the
technical skills necessary to analyse large datasets often prevent social
scientists from exploiting its potential. Much detail is also lost in the
analysis of Big Data, which emphasises aggregated patterns over mechanisms
operating at the individual level and lacks the demographic information of
survey data, for example.

This conference calls for papers that explore the new research frontiers
opened up by Big Data as well as its limitations. We are looking for
research that uses large datasets to inform old debates in political
science, and papers that develop innovative methodological tools (from
experiments, to crowd-sourcing, to online ethnography) to overcome the
omissions of big datasets. The Internet, Politics, Policy 2012 conference
aims to serve as a forum to encourage discussion across disciplinary
boundaries on how to exploit Big Data to inform policy debates and advance
social science research.

** Programme **

The conference aims to attract papers from a range of disciplines analysing
Big Data or developing approaches that dig into the mechanisms that large
datasets do not consider. Panels will be organised in twin tracks:

- Papers in the Politics track will explore the insights that large datasets
and complementary methodological tools offer in the analysis of political
behaviour, including - but not limited to - mobilisations, collective
action, or public opinion formation; 
- Papers in the Policy track will look at how behavioural insights gained
from Big Data analysis, and from experiments in online settings, can inform
policy debates and shape policy making, including e-health, on-line
education, cybercrime, security and privacy.

These two areas are intertwined, and will be merged in plenary sessions,
investigating the intersection of policy and politics in the Big Data era.

** Keynotes ** 

- Duncan Watts, Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research
- Second keynote pending confirmation

** Submissions **

We welcome papers reporting on innovative research exploiting large datasets
or applying novel methodological tools aimed to overcome the limitations of
Big Data. We particularly welcome papers that report empirical results and
employ analytical approaches that would not have been possible without
access to digital information. Perspectives from any academic discipline are
welcomed, particularly: political science, economics, law, sociology,
information science, communications, philosophy, computer science,
psychology, management, geography and medicine.

Paper proposals:  

Proposals should include a title and a 1000 word abstract specifying the
research question, describing the methods and data used, and summarising the
main findings. Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and the authors of accepted
proposals are expected to submit full papers prior to the conference. 
Paper submissions will be considered for a Best Paper Award of 300 GBP
(sponsored by the journal Policy and Internet). The prize will be awarded at
the closing session of the conference. As the paper is intended to be
published in a future issue of the journal, authors should indicate whether
they would like their paper to be considered for the prize.

Poster proposals: 

Posters should summarise in a visually engaging manner the purpose, methods
and results of an original piece of research. All accepted submissions will
be considered for a Best Poster Award of 300 GBP (sponsored by Google). The
prize will be awarded at the closing session of the conference. 

Paper and poster proposals should be submitted using the online form at

Travel Bursaries:

We will support a limited number of competitive bursaries to contribute to
the cost of attendance for doctoral students and recent postdocs (doctorate
finished 2011). Preference will be given to paper or poster presenters.
Please indicate in your submission if you would like to be considered for
such a bursary.

** Deadlines ** 

    Abstract deadline: 15 March 2012
    Decision on abstracts: 15 April 2012
    Poster deadline: 15 April 2012
    Decision on posters: 15 May 2012 
    Full paper submission: 15 August 2012

Conference correspondence can be sent to: [log in to unmask]

Best wishes,

Internet, Politics, Policy 2010
Contact: [log in to unmask]
Twitter: #ipp2012

Professor Helen Margetts (Oxford Internet Institute) 
Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon (Oxford Internet Institute) 
David Sutcliffe (Oxford Internet Institute)

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